1. Calories count!
Don’t be tricked by empty promises and smokescreens. The only way to lower your weight is to monitor your calories. There are many ways to do that. Weight Watchers® PointsPlus® values, for example, combine calories with their source of nutrients to determine the PointsPlus value of any food you might choose to eat. The formula helps you to eat in a nutritious manner, but lowering your weight is a result of restricting calories. Any weight loss program that works will restrict calories whether you’re aware of it or not.
If you think you can stick with a program to lower your weight while feeling hungry or deprived you might be making a mistake. Hunger and feelings of deprivation because you cannot eat certain foods or food groups lowers willpower and raises stress levels. Increased stress levels and decreased willpower make holding onto control very difficult and often, utterly impossible.
3. Never underestimate support!
Sure you’re a grown up capable of achieving many remarkable things on your own. That doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from support from others. Support comes in many different ways. You may not need the support of friends and family to tell you you’re doing a good job. You may not want your friends and family to become your watchdogs and question every bite you’re about to take. On the other hand, you may find those things to be very helpful. You might also prefer the kind of non-judgmental support that you get from people who are trying to lower their weight too. You may find that sharing challenges and success are both motivating and inspiring.
4. Find non-food ways to manage emotions (most of the time!)
Using food to manage emotions is a learned response and I believe it’s also an inherited response for some of us. Turning to food is a way to “do something” when we feel helpless and are overcome with a need to respond. It takes a plan and practice to find non-food ways to manage stress. The more we practice, however, the more automatic these new responses become. Sometimes we will want to eat in response to an emotion and that’s fine. Be choosy and eat something you will really enjoy and pay attention to the amount. When you’re done; it’s over. There is no need for lingering guilt or negative self-talk. You didn’t “mess up,” or “blow it!” All you did was “eat” and sometimes “eat happens!”
5. Do what moves you!
Run, jump, play, dance, ski, roll, ride, wash, sweep, paddle, pedal, gallop, rake, weed, plant, pump, row…. Get moving and have fun. Moving burns calories, firms and tones muscles, and prevents muscle loss when lowering your weight. If it hurts to move, start small. Move what doesn’t hurt and as you lower your weight and keep moving increase your activity.